LED Random Blinking Mood Lighting

What is it about pseudo random flashing LEDs that make us go gaga?  We don’t know, but there’s definitely something there. [seligtobiason] has this obsession too.  After seeing several more complicated projects, he created this elegant, simple, and cheap piece of art. The entire thing is pretty much just some flashing LEDs, some resistors, and a power supply.  It really isn’t anything groundbreaking, but the effort and cost involved are tiny compared to some other similar projects.  sure, it doesn’t synchronize over time based on input like the firefly project.   But for a quick cheap project, the results are quite nice.

We would put one in our home, right next to the node blinky.

7 thoughts on “LED Random Blinking Mood Lighting

  1. i have a question for anyone more knowledgeable than i am…why would you need 48 separate resistors for this? i’m no electronics expert but couldn’t you just have one bigger resistor between the power supply and the led array?

    also, as an addition to the project, it might be cool to put in an audio transformer and 1/8″ jack, so as to have the brightness be modulated by an audio source.

  2. I used to build things like this years ago…something as simple as a row of five flashing LEDs can be quite hypnotic to watch, as they go in and out of sync.

    @mattm: Firstly, you usually don’t need to include a current limiting resistor with flashing LEDs, as they usually limit the current internally (but you should check the
    LED’s data sheet, as there are exceptions). If I recall correctly, you should wire multiple
    flashing LEDs in parallel to achieve the above effect; if you wire them in series, they will
    all flash at the same rate (as one of the LEDs will be switching everything in series with it on and off).

    If you do need to limit the current of multiple LEDs in parallel, in theory, you could do this with a single resistor, but you’d need to ensure that it can handle the total power that all of the LEDs will draw. However, it’s usually not a good idea to do this, as the
    electrical characteristics of diodes means that you can end up overdriving some of the diodes, burning them out, due to slightly different voltage drops across them, and the fact that a small increase in voltage across a diode can cause a large increase in current drawn. You should therefore include one resistor for each set of LEDs wired in series.


  3. I enjoyed your article. In regards to mood lighting check out the website…it currently offers a mood light system called Urban Underglow™. It transforms your room in to a chic mood light and glow experience. In May 2009 LIT will be launching a new LED system that will provide a full immersive experience integrating room LED lighting with your movies, games and other content! Imagine watching a movie with an explosion and your room lights up in red, yellow, orange all synched with the movie or your pc game. Or how about seeing the room glow in blue while watching an underwater scene in a movie or a pc game! LED lights (LED tubes, wall washers, etc.) are driven by the content you are watching!

  4. Hi! I am working on a project with five blinking LED’s on a circuit. I designed the circuit from what I’ve found on the web that I modified. They are supposed blink really slowly and randomly but the problem I am finding is that two or more LED’s go on or off at a time. They are all wired in parallel but I think it has something to do with the position of the capacitors. I have clear schematics and pictures of the board but I don’t know how to post them here. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks and have a great day.

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